Speaking at a press conference after the first day’s play, Agarwal explained, “The plan was to be very disciplined, to play balls which come around the stump and leave as many as possible. We could do just that. At 272 for 3, it is credit to our batting unit, we applied ourselves. The plan is those who get set will have to continue and Rahul bhai did that.”
India got off to a wonderful start after winning the toss as Agarwal and Rahul added 117 for the opening wicket. The former added about India’s performance, “The highlight as a team was Rahul getting a hundred. We had partnerships and that was crucial. He had a partnership first up with me, and Virat bhai had it also and then with Rahane. I hope they continue the same."
The 30-year-old reserved special praise for Rahul, who batted through the opening day’s play. The opener said about his Karnataka teammate, “If someone is really watching him closely you will know that he (Rahul) knows where his off-stump is, he is really getting to the line of the ball, he is leaving balls really well and he is very disciplined in his game plan and in his mindset."
While India ended the opening day in the ascendancy, Agarwal admitted that the first hour on Monday will be crucial. The opener said, “We want to score as many as we can to place ourselves in a very good position. The first hour (tomorrow) will be crucial. If we do well in that period, we can pile pressure (on South Africans).
Agarwal further said, “There was a bit of moisture early on and we could see some balls skidding but it got better as day progressed and got quicker."
He was also asked about his lbw dismissal. The ball looked to be missing the stumps to the naked eye but replays showed the ball clipping the same. Agarwal refused to comment on his dismissal and replied, “I am not allowed to give my opinion and so I want to leave it at that. Otherwise, I will be in bad books and my money (match fee) could be docked."
--By A Cricket Correspondent